JAIPUR: With the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic peaking in India, many employees in essential services and those on the frontline have started catching the infection. In Rajasthan, over 90 employees of essential services (including doctors, nurses, ANMs, policemen, home guards and their families) have now been hit by COVID-19.
Sadly, some of them are also putting the lives of others in danger due to sheer carelessness.
On Tuesday, 4 doctors were found COVID-19 positive at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur. Now, the people who came in contact with the four doctors are put in quarantine. In addition, samples of doctors' families are also being taken. According to information, two of the infected doctors are Assistant Professors in the Surgery Department, one is a resident and the fourth is a resident of medicine department. It has been reported that these doctors had treated a COVID-19 positive patient a few days ago, after which they have caught this infection.
Dr Laxman Agarwal, Head of the Department of Surgery, said that a youth, resident of Faizabad, was admitted to the hospital on April 14 with a complaint of stomach ache. "Investigations revealed that he had intestinal problems and he was then operated. During the operation, doctors did not wear the kit to protect against COVID-19. On 16 April, the youth was confirmed to be COVID-19 positive and later died the next day," he added.
In Jaipur alone, 23 doctors, surgeons, policemen have so far been found COVID-19 positive and family members of some of them are also infected. Similarly, 11 doctors, nurses, ANM and policemen in Jodhpur, 9 doctors and nurses in Bhilwara, hospital staff, 3 women police officials in Nagaur and 6 head constables, home guards, Asha workers in Kota have been found positive. More than 3 people have been found positive in Udaipur, including a nurse and a doctor.
Bhilwara is the classic example of how carelessness of a doctor infected not just doctors medical staff but the entire city on risk. In Bhilwara, a doctor of Brajesh Bangad Hospital who got the virus allegedly. from one of his guest from UAE and spread to nearly three dozen persons in the city.
Dr Narendra Gupta, associated with health rights and doctors training programs for long and the Co-Convenor of the Jan Swasthya movement says that more and more frontline workers are getting infected in the country due to their own mindset and cost-cutting ways of private sector hospitals. "The Indian doctors don't follow the protocol unlike their counterparts in the west. They take precautions lightly and private hospitals don't buy proper protection equipment. The doctors don't demand it strongly which is why more deaths of medical officials have occurred in the private sector", he added.
Dr Rateesh Sareen Consultant Pathologist and Assistant Medico-legal director SDMH Jaipur remarks, ‘‘those who will swim will get wet. So those who are facing frontline will be the most affected. Why only doctors, even police officials are getting infected. As both police and government hospitals are facing the full burden of COVID-19 patients, they are getting infected.’’
As far as protective equipment is concerned, most experts say that it needs to be mandatory. However, in dealing with medical patients, nothing is really fool-proof. Some doctors who didn't use PPE have resulted in catching the infection.
But what about others who are using PPE and still getting infected? The right approach will be to ensure the availability of PPE and to make everyone aware and convince them to use it. They also point out that doctors are also not divine but human beings and the current crisis of working in a pandemic is bound to create stress and fear and cannot be equated with normal work.
In Nagaur, the staff of 3 police stations and a large number of police personnel, including some in police lines, are being made aware of the risk of infection. In Kota, more than 40 policemen, including home guards, are feared to be infected.
In addition, two policewomen were found positive in Nagaur on Tuesday. With this,100 police personnel from two police stations and the police lines are now under COVID-19 threat. In Kota, a head constable and a home guard met patients on Tuesday. The head constable is stationed at the Hotspot Makbara Police Station, while the home guard resides in Mokha Pada whose wife was found positive a day earlier. The SP has now quarantined the entire Police Station and 40 policemen are kept in an isolation ward.
On Wednesday, 133 new positive cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Rajasthan. With this, the number of COVID-19 positive patients has reached 1868 in the state and 27 people have died due to infection. There are 26 districts which have been hit by the virus in the state.